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Day 64: Obstacles to Gratitude

“When you are in a deep state of gratitude, you will often spontaneously feel the presence of grace.” -Phillip Moffitt

I have been falling off my gratitude journaling lately. I realize now that it isn’t enough to jot down some notes at the end of the day; gratitude journaling has to happen throughout the day, in the same way that I wore my wristband, as a mindfulness practice. In the same way that I focused my attention on noticing negative words coming out of my mouth, an authentic gratitude practice has to be happening constantly throughout the day. By choosing to look in each moment for what is right, for what there is to be grateful for, we connect to life as it is. 

It is easy for me to get stuck in my problem-solving mode. As a business owner with more dreams than resources, I get stuck on what isn’t working and spend my energy trying to resolve it. I often miss the opportunity and the gift being presented. Getting lost in my worries and anxiety about the outcome that I want, I miss out on the small joys in the effort. This can, and often does, lead me to take good things for granted. It is a common habit to take what’s both desirable and present for granted. Just think how easily a favorite food can lose its novelty and appeal after a few bites.

This “taking for granted” thing is a slippery slope in a gratitude practice. We all suffer from some form of an entitlement complex, believing that things should just work out for us easily. Feeling entitled does not foster gratitude. A lesson that has hit me hard as I watch my teenagers, who were maybe too well loved, not really appreciate what they have, while expecting more. Entitlement is a close cousin of comparing ourselves to others, and whether you come up on top or bottom, the mental habit often takes you far a field from appreciating your own experience.

So, today I am re-committing to making gratitude the lens through which I see my life. A hundred times a day, I want to be able to bear witness to goodness where it happens, small and large. I think I might meet up with grace on the way.